AND THEN there's MAUDE
...AND THEN there's MAUDE.
By Eva Goicochea, Co-Founder of Maude
As far as customer experience is concerned, we’ve all been in that drugstore aisle, awkwardly adding random items into our baskets to cover up condoms... While wishing that we actually understood the differences between the products available. The landscape is over-assorted, outdated, ugly, and uncomfortable. Maude is trying to change that with a pared-down and friendly direct-to-consumer experience that speaks to you like a human. We’re changing sex culture one person at a time.
We at Maude stand for simplicity, quality, and inclusivity. Our symbols are universal, our color palette is muted, and our products are all easy-to-use: Our condoms are in buttercup packaging, which means you know which way is up; the lube is in a pump bottle; and our vibe is ergonomic and only three speeds. If we successfully break down the discomfort of buying and owning these products, then we’ve done our job..
Maude will be launching on April 9th 2018.
How Maude came to life, you ask?
Napkin version: I love people and product.
Roll of paper towel version:
In my 20s, post a brief stint in New York at FIT, I went back to Sacramento (where I grew up and yes, it was exactly like Greta Gerwig’s portrayal) and fell into a job in the healthcare space, which began my interest in everyday wellness. I spent 10 years in branding, e-commerce, and product, landing at Everlane in 2012 as the head of social media, and later, culture and hiring. In 2015, I launched a watch company with three other founders - who were the ones that brought up the idea of a sex essentials company. They weren’t interested in pursuing it. I always loved people and product and knew that I wanted to someday build a company that was for the greater (and everyday) good. This was it.
My friend Dina Epstein, an industrial designer who worked in the intimacy space, started working on it with me and we became co-founders. After 2.5 years of research and development, a move back to NYC, and a half a million dollars in venture funding - we are finally launching.
How did we narrow in on our target demographic?
You have to be specific. Our focus is on the 25-45 year old who we call the “educated essentialist”. These are the people who want to make informed and discerning purchasing decisions, and while they’re progressive about sex, they aren’t trying to scream it from the rooftops. They’re thoughtful, intelligent, refined and most importantly, they care.
That said, all of this applies to people in every adult age group and so far, we’ve had website visits and inquiries that span 18 years old to 75 year olds.
Of course, you need to differentiate yourself from the rest of the 'doms in the world. What sets Maude apart from the other intimacy products we’ve seen for decades?
I wish that I could answer this in photos. I’ll just answer it in adjectives. You’ll notice that the “isn’t” category applies to almost every other company in this space and I would challenge you to find one that doesn’t fit these:
A lot of people wonder where a brand’s name should stem from. We wanted to make ours intentional. I suggest that you do, too.
Through the 1930s, condoms were sold in beautiful packaging to remain under the radar (because of the Comstock Laws). One of these brands was called Three Merry Widows and their names were Mabel, Agnes and Beckie. 'Maude' in name is a nod to the widows and by design was created to subversively fight the stigma of sex much like the packaging at that time.
Also, Maude has a bunch of other interesting meanings: it means “strength in battle;” the TV show Maude was super progressive; and we use it to play off of the word "modern." Lots of meaning in one little syllable.
however, It’s not all smooches and dancing. There are challenges that face the intimacy products market.
This industry has yet to evolve.
The intimacy product market still talking to us like we’re teenagers, or as if we should all be porn stars behind closed doors. It is essentially ground zero for our broken culture of sex, not to mention it is so horribly designed. It's currently marketed in such a crude way that you have to overlook your own sensibility when buying these products. It’s incredibly frustrating that the market doesn’t reflect a modern, intelligent consumer who doesn’t conform to old-fashioned notions of how sex should be understood or talked about.
We already have some success and it looks like this: People are happy and excited to finally buy sex essentials that they can integrate into their everyday lives and many of them have previously felt shame, discomfort and fear.
If we can continue to make a difference for people, then we’ll feel victorious.
Maude launches next week.
You can purchase their products here.